AIB Connacht Club SFC final:
St Brigid’s v Corofin on Sunday in Dr Hyde Park at 1.30 pm
A mouth-watering Connacht Club senior final brings together two clubs who have enjoyed great success in this competition over the past 15 years, with St Brigid’s of Roscommon meeting Corofin of Galway.
Corofin will go into the match as the deserved warm favourites after an impressive return to the top table in Galway football this year.
Between them, these two clubs have won no less that 11 Connacht club titles since 2006. They have five All-Ireland titles between them too (four to Corofin), so we are dealing with club football royalty here.
Corofin are back on the glory trail after winning the Galway title for the first time since 2019. They have had a tremendous campaign so far, defeating defending champions Moycullen by two points in the Galway final before overcoming Ballina Stephenites by four points in the Connacht semi-final.
A number of their players from the multiple All-Ireland title-winning glory years have retired, but there are still a few familiar faces on their team. Bernard Power is an excellent goalkeeper who has loads of inter-county experience with Galway. Liam Silke has returned from his travels this year and has been superb in every big game throughout the season.
Their captain, Dylan McHugh, is also an outstanding performer in the half-back line while Ronan Steede looks certain to start at midfield. It will be interesting to see if Corofin pick the vastly experienced Daithi Burke in that sector. He has returned to the panel recently which is a huge plus for them.
The main man up front is 39-year-old Gary Sice – who has been having a superb championship – while Darragh Silke and Tony Gill are also very dangerous attackers. On the bench there are very familiar names like Michael Farragher, Michael Lundy and Martin Farragher, all of whom bring huge experience to the table.
St Brigid’s will be praying this week that Brian Stack’s injury has been overcome. Stack is a huge inspiration for St Brigid’s and he will be needed to tag Gary Sice. They will need another great performance from Cormac Sheehy between the posts, and once again his kick-outs will be crucial.
The Brigid’s half-back line of Ruaidhri Fallon, Ronan Stack and Paul McGrath will also have huge roles on Sunday, not just in terms of defending, but also in bolstering their attack when it’s needed.
The Brigid’s attackers will have to ensure that Ben O’Carroll is not isolated and Ciaran Sugrue, Robbie Dolan, Bobby Nugent and Conor Hand will need to be ready to take their scores when opportunity arises. Of course midfield will be crucial and Shane Cunnane and Eddie Nolan will have to be at their very best to hold Corofin and put their side on the front foot as much as possible.
Some pundits have been predicting that Corofin will win this game easily, but that’s not going to happen. Football at this time of the year is a bit of a slog, generally low-scoring, with defences on top. It would be foolish to ignore Corofin’s impressive return to this stage of the competition, given their record and the free-flowing football that they like to play. St Brigid’s will have to adapt and they may have to defend in numbers at certain stages of Sunday’s game.
I am predicting a very close match. St Brigid’s have every chance, but Corofin’s edge in experience may just swing it in their favour.